The alarm startled me out of a deep sleep. No time to roll over for some extra sleepies (or snuggles) as we needed to get up and get ready for our day trip to Delft! After three full days in Amsterdam, I felt super excited to adventure out and see more of the Netherlands! One of the most thrilling bits about travel for me is experiencing new things and the “unknown.” In addition, I feel the desire to figure things out by problem solving alongside my travels. In other words, I love the challenge of planning and strategizing how to navigate through a foreign countries and new places.
In advance, I looked up the train situation with regard to times and train stops, directions from the train stations to our destinations, and so forth. It is SO enjoyable! And call me crazy, but sometimes the more challenging–the better–add the hiccups and/or setbacks and even misfortunes and combined they all equal the best adventure stories for later.
Our jaunt from Amsterdam to Delft was relatively easy to execute. We railed from Central Station to the Hague then took a small tram from the Hague to Delft. The beautiful picturesque bright green countryside displayed different side of the Netherlands. Travelers noticed many fields and farms as well as the neighborhoods where the local people of the Netherlands live and raise their families. In Amsterdam, we found most of the people were tourists rather than locals so the train ride was a nice authentic experience through the outskirts of the city!
The actual train cars and train stations exceeded expectations. During our several train experiences in the Netherlands, I noticed the above average cleanliness, spacious and comfortable seating, and the most quiet and smooth running train. It was difficult to believe we were even on a train!
Now for the tour!
Unsurprisingly, Delft embodied the old world European charm including more canals and bridges. Delft is most known for the artist, Johannes Vermeer and Delftware. Also, I’d include William of Orange as an honorable mention. Recently, we watched the film, Girl with the Pearl Earring which is about the native Delft artist, Vermeer. Our tour really came to life because we watched the film in advance. Dutch Delftware began production after the beer industry slowed down in the Netherlands. Delftware was inspired by the Asian porcelain brought over from the Far East. The handpainted blue and white porcelain quickly became a luxurious item in Europe. The Dutch started imitating the Asian handicraft creating their own style which is still practiced and sold today. Delftware is sold throughout the country. We noticed several Delftware shops in Amsterdam.
The most important historical figure of the Netherlands is William of Orange (1533-1584). He led the Dutch revolt against the Spanish Habsburgs that set off the Eighty Years’ War and ultimately allowed the Netherlands to gain their independence in 1581. He is considered by the Dutch as the founder of the Netherlands. He was assassinated and buried in Delft. The present royal family members are descendents of William of Orange. Amazing!
The New Church is a protestant church in the Market Square of Delft. The church is the burial ground for most of the Dutch royals since William of Orange until present. Our guide told us the funerals still take place here and the royals visit the private royal family crypt from time to time.
The New Church tower is the second largest in the Netherlands and visitors can climb to the top for a panoramic view of the city.
Built in 1246, the Old Church is a Gothic Protestant church with a 75 meter high brick leaning tower. The Old Church is home to an enormous bell in the tower weighing nearly nine tons. It is only rung on special occasions or country-wide sirens.
The market square is a true glimpse back in time. I easily imagined what it used to be like here.
Now for the sad part, I planned and I had full intentions to visit the tulip fields in Keukenhof. I knew it was going to be a stretch, BUT I also knew it would be worth it even if it is a little bit of a challenge to get there with trains and buses. Since when do I back away from a travel sightseeing challenge? “Everyone” admits Keukenhof is one of the best sights to see in the Netherlands is only open in April/May. So after our delightful day in Delft. I wimped out and skipped the Keukenhof gardens and tulip fields. Honestly, I am shocked that I could not get myself to the tulip fields. Seriously? What is wrong with me? I got travel lazy and said let’s just go back to Amsterdam. Alas, we missed one of the major highlights of the Netherlands, but I hope to make a trip back to see the world famous tulip and flower gardens!
We arrived in Amsterdam around dinner time. For our last night, we decided on Dutch food. We enjoyed a fabulous meal and a delicious dessert. After dinner, we walked back to the hotel for our last night in Europe. So sad.
Packed up. Checked out and hit up Pancake Bakery one last time! Seriously, so good.